West Virginia Week in Review - August 2, 2019




Gov. Justice signs bill saving Pleasants Power Station from closure
On Tuesday, Gov. Jim Justice signed House Bill 207 during a ceremony at the Pleasants Power Station in Willow Island. The bill exempts certain merchant power plants from the business and occupation tax and will prevent the Pleasants Power Station from closing, saving more than 160 jobs at the plant and hundreds more indirect jobs associated with the plant. [Watch Video]


The Governor was joined by several state and local leaders, plant workers, coal miners, and residents of Pleasants County for the ceremonial signing. The bill was passed by the West Virginia Legislature on July 23, just one day after being introduced as part of the recent special session. [More Photos]


Gov. Justice showcases large-scale addition to Highways maintenance equipment fleet; to enhance roadwork in every West Virginia county
Gov. Justice debuted a massive addition to the West Virginia Division of Highways' road maintenance equipment fleet during an unveiling event Thursday at the DOH Equipment Division state offices in Buckhannon. The event showcased dozens of new tandem and single-axle dump trucks, mowers, several Gradall hydraulic excavators, and more; just a portion of the nearly 280 machines and vehicles that will be distributed to all 10 DOH Districts and in all 55 counties across West Virginia by this fall. [Watch Video]


Gov. Justice also announced that an extra 10 Gradalls – do-it-all machines for road maintenance – will be among the next wave of machinery coming by fall. These excavators will be added to another 10 recently ordered, meaning there will soon be 20 of these machines statewide; or two for every DOH District. [More Photos]


Gov. Justice greets tens of thousands of visitors to West Virginia for 24th World Scout Jamboree
Last Friday, Gov. Justice toured the Bechtel Summit Reserve, site of the 24th World Scout Jamboree, meeting scouts from all over the world and distributing West Virginia patches. He spoke to tens of thousands of scouts and other attendees during their live show last Friday night, telling them about all the great wonders of West Virginia.
[Watch Recap Video] [Watch FULL Video]


The Governor also toured the West Virginia National Guard Armory in Glen Jean, as guardsmen were assisting in operations at the Jamboree. He spoke with National Guard members about ensuring the safety of tens of thousands of scouts and leaders at the Bechtel Summit Reserve. [More Photos]


Gov. Justice joins West Virginia war hero Woody Williams to break ground on new Gold Star Families Memorial Monument at State Capitol
On Saturday, Gov. Justice joined Medal of Honor recipient and World War II hero Hershel "Woody" Williams and other West Virginia military heroes at the State Capitol complex in Charleston, to hold a groundbreaking ceremony for an all-new Gold Star Families Memorial Monument, which will be built on the Capitol grounds. Gold Star Families are those whose loved ones have made the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives, to protect our state's and our nation's freedoms. [Watch Video]


Several Gold Star Families were also in attendance for the event. Across the USA, there are currently 51 Gold Star Families memorial monuments in more than 40 states, with another 60 in progress. The new monument in Charleston is expected to be completed by this fall.

Gov. Justice celebrates West Virginia’s #1 GDP growth rate in America to national audience
Last Friday, Gov. Justice made a national television news appearance on the Fox News show, Fox & Friends, to discuss West Virginia’s recent ranking by the United States Department of Commerce as the #1 state in the country for GDP growth rate. [Watch Video]


The top national ranking was among GDP growth rates for Q1 of 2019. United States Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced the news in a congratulatory tweet to Gov. Justice, sent last Thursday. Mining was the leading contributor to West Virginia’s GDP growth rate.

Gov. Justice celebrates grand opening of new Pietro Fiorentini natural gas manufacturing facility, company's first in United States
On Monday, Gov. Justice helped cut the ribbon on a new manufacturing plant, Pietro Fiorentini, in Weirton. This is the Italian energy company’s first permanent manufacturing operation in the United States. The new location will produce gas pressure regulators and natural gas treatment plants. [Read More]


Located at Three Springs Business Park, Pietro Fiorentini will bring about 100 jobs to Hancock County. The company first broke ground on the plant in 2017 and has had a temporary office in Wheeling since 2013.

Communities In Schools Summer Institute builds capacity to serve at-risk students
First Lady Cathy Justice and officials with the West Virginia Department of Education worked this week, alongside leaders from the Communities In Schools (CIS) program, to host 175 educators and service providers for a four-day Summer Learning Institute in Huntington. The Institute is being held to assist counties that are part of a recent CIS expansion learn how they can address students’ needs more effectively. On Wednesday, First Lady Justice, along with several dignitaries from CIS and the WVDE, including CIS Founder Bill Milliken, addressed attendees during a keynote event. [Watch Video]


Following an appropriation from the West Virginia Legislature, CIS will operate in eleven counties and 59 schools during the 2019-20 school year. West Virginia is the first state-level Communities In Schools licensed partner and the West Virginia expansion is the single largest licensing expansion in the country.

Gov. Justice announces West Virginia Community Corrections Grant Awards
Gov. Justice announced Tuesday that he has awarded $5,417,239 in West Virginia Community Corrections Grant program funds to 30 projects. These funds will be used to assist local communities in the establishment and continued operation of community corrections programs. [Read More]


The West Virginia Community Corrections Grant Program is intended to provide a means for communities to develop, establish and maintain community-based corrections programs to provide the judicial system with sentencing alternatives for those offenders who may require less than institutional custody. These funds are administered by the Justice and Community Services Section of the WV Division of Administrative Services.

Gov. Justice offers condolences to family of state employee who passed away in accident
On Monday, Gov. Justice released a statement, offering his sympathies to the family of a state employee who passed away at a state park in Wood County. [Social Post]


Gov. Justice orders flags flown at half-staff in honor of West Virginia National Guard SSG William Friese
Gov. Justice ordered that all United States and West Virginia flags displayed at the Capitol complex in Charleston and all state facilities throughout Wood County be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sundown on Friday, in honor of funeral services for West Virginia National Guard SSG William "Billy" Friese. He passed away in Camp Buehring, Kuwait, from a non-combat related incident on July 18, 2019, serving in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. [Read More]


Friese, a resident of Parkersburg and a native West Virginian, was the recipient of the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, NATO Afghanistan Service Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, West Virginia Emergency Service Ribbon, West Virginia State Service Ribbon, and numerous other awards and decorations.

Gov. Justice approves award of I-64 widening project in Cabell County
Last Friday, Gov. Justice and leaders from the Department of Transportation announced that the contract for a major widening project along Interstate-64, from Merritts Creek to Barboursville in Cabell County, has been awarded to Triton Construction, Inc., of Nitro. The project is part of Gov. Justice's Roads to Prosperity program, and will double the width of the existing section of interstate from four lanes to eight lanes. [Read More]



WVDOT announces secondary road maintenance projects through end of year
On Tuesday, the Department of Transportation updated its list of roads that have been identified as high priority for road maintenance across all 55 counties throughout West Virginia. Since March, the DOT has made road maintenance its top priority and has since paved more than 1,000 miles across the state. The new list, unveiled this week, represents the next batch of projects that the DOT aims to complete as soon as possible. [View List]


Maintenance road work across West Virginia highlighted
Last Friday, the Department of Transportation spotlighted the work on secondary road maintenance that has been completed in District 9, which consists of Nicholas, Monroe, Greenbrier, Summers, and Fayette counties in the southeastern region of West Virginia. [Watch Video]


Videos about progress on additional road projects, such as Corridor H and on Sally's Backbone Road in Marshall County, are also available on the Department of Transportation's YouTube page.


Nearly $500,000 awarded to recipients of the 2020 State Historic Preservation grants
On Wednesday, the Governor’s Chief of Staff Mike Hall and Department of Arts, Culture, and History Curator Randall Reid-Smith announced the recipients of the 2020 State Historic Preservation grants. There were 21 grant recipients who received a total of $468,110 to protect and preserve West Virginia’s historical locations. [Watch Video]


The State Historic Preservation Office annually provides matching state-funded development grants to assist organizations and individuals in preserving historic resources.

STARLAB Planetarium coming to Moundsville
Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex and the Moundsville-Marshall County Public Library announced this week that they will be hosting NASA’s mobile STARLAB Planetarium on Tuesday, Aug. 6. Activities will be held at the Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and at the Moundsville-Marshall County Public Library from 3 to 5 p.m. [Read More]


The program is coordinated by the library and is sponsored by the Evan G. Roberts Trust through BB&T. The program is free and open to the public. No registration is required.


WVDEP helps Girl Scout group earn STREAM Badge in Huntington
The Department of Environmental Protection's Project WET and Watershed Assessment Branch worked alongside various groups on Saturday to help six Black Diamond Girl Scout members earn their Science, Technology, Recreation, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STREAM) badge along Fourpole Creek in Huntington. [More Photos]


Each girl learned how to determine a stream's health through observation and assessment, while also enjoying their time tying and casting flies. Additional STREAM Girl Workshops will be scheduled next year.


New "Lodge" restaurant one of many improvements at Tygart Lake State Park
The Lodge is not only a place to stay overnight at Tygart Lake State Park near Grafton; it’s now the name of the new park restaurant that opened this month at this central West Virginia destination. Visitors will see improvements in the restaurant and the menu. Guests also may choose outdoor seating on a new patio with a view of the lake, soft seating, umbrella tables and fire pits. Professional chefs will create favorite park dishes along with new items. The restaurant will have live entertainment during some weekends. [Read More]


In the past, the restaurant operation had been contracted out, but it is now managed and operated by state parks staff, giving visitors and overnight guests a steady and consistent menu of good food and good service. 


Take the DNR Mountaineer Sportsman Challenge at the State Fair of West Virginia
This week, the Division of Natural Resources Police announced they are calling on those with a keen eye and vast knowledge of West Virginia wildlife, to try their hand at being named the 2019 West Virginia Mountaineer Sportsman. A free contest to determine the winner of the title is being offered by DNR Police Officers during the State Fair of West Virginia Aug. 8-17, 2019. The challenge will be administered by the West Virginia Natural Resource Police Officers Association. [Read More]


Contestants must be West Virginia residents age 15 or older. The challenge can be quickly completed while visiting the NRPOA booth in the West Virginia Building. Prizes will be awarded to the top scorer in each of the six districts with a grand prize going to the overall top scorer. The overall winner will also earn the prestigious title of the “2019 West Virginia DNR Mountaineer Sportsman” and will be given a gift by the Natural Resource Police Officers Association.

Permit applications available for special deer hunt at Green Bank Observatory
The Green Bank Observatory, through the Division of Natural Resources, announced this week a special resident-only controlled deer hunt at the GBO site will be held Oct. 11-12, 2019. Hunters must enter a lottery for limited permits. [Read More]


Hunters must apply for the hunt on the Electronic Licensing System at www.wvhunt.com by midnight, Aug. 29. Hunters may enter by themselves or in a group of up to four hunters. Hunters must know the other hunters’ DNR ID number(s) to enter as a group.


Teams converge on West Virginia to compete in National 4-H Forestry Invitational
This week, the 40th annual National 4-H Forestry Invitational drew teams from across the U.S. to compete in West Virginia. This year, teams from 13 states entered the forestry skills and knowledge challenge. As it has each year since 1980, the National 4-H Forestry Invitational was held in the Jackson’s Mill State 4-H Conference Center in Weston. The 2019 Invitational ran Monday through Thursday. [Read More]


The 2019 Invitational teams came from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.


Prevention Resource Officers honored for service to West Virginia students and schools
Last week, several Prevention Resource Officers (PROs) in West Virginia were recognized for going above and beyond during the annual conference for the statewide program, held last week at The Highlands near Triadelphia. PROs are certified law enforcement officers who receive special training to serve in their local elementary, middle and high schools. They maintain an office at their schools and are on duty a minimum 35 to 40 hours each week, and also typically attend extra-curricular activities throughout the school year. [Read More]


The Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety oversees the program, through what is now the Justice and Community Services section of its Division of Administrative Services. As the name suggests, the program focuses on prevention as well as mentoring and safety. The 2019 conference provided training and certification to 101 PROs to serve in 32 counties – the largest number of officers in the program’s history.


Corduroy Inn kicks off expansion with groundbreaking ceremony at Snowshoe
On Monday, the Corduroy Inn hosted a groundbreaking ceremony to officially launch the facility's expansion at Snowshoe Mountain Resort. The inn, located within Snowshoe's ski resort, will remain open during the expansion. The estimated completion date is November 2020, in time for the 2020/2021 ski season. The upscale boutique hotel currently offers 12 guest suites. The new structure will add approximately 37,000 square feet with a combination of lodging and banquet hall. [Read More]


Plans call for 30 more hotel units, consisting of 16 studio-apartment style rooms, 12 one-bedroom and 2 two-bedroom. The banquet space will feature floor-to-ceiling windows to capitalize on the striking views of sunsets over the Appalachian Mountains. An outdoor walkout patio area will provide an idyllic setting for cocktails or wedding photos.

One SBDC Business Coach awarded top honor, another added to roster
This week, West Virginia Small Business Development Center Business Coach Shannon Mitchell (left) was honored as West Virginia’s 2019 State Star. Mitchell will join a constellation of SBDC State Star honorees from each state who will be recognized during the 39th Annual America’s SBDC Conference, Sept. 3-6, 2019, in Long Beach, California. [Read More] Additionally this week, Sissonville native Will Miller (right) became the latest to join the statewide network of business coaches under the SBDC. [Read More]





Contact Information

Jordan Damron, jordan.l.damron@wv.gov


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